Unreached people are defined as a “people group among which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize this people group without outside assistance.”
In order for a place to be deemed unreached, less than 5% or equal to 5% are Christian Adherents and less than 2% or equal to 2% evangelical (Ibid.). Sadly, there are many unreached places and people groups in the world.
As Christians, we need to not only pray for these places but also help in tangible ways, such as going on mission trips, educating others about the unreached, and supporting missionaries to the mission field. Here are the 10 most unreached places in the world.
The most unreached place in the world is India. According to Team Expansion, 1,277,866,000 people are unreached. The Joshua Project reports that the people group of the Adi Dravida are the most unreached in India, with 0.00% evangelical.
India, as an entire country, needs to hear the message of the gospel. Hinduism is the main religion of India, with 79.8% of the population identifying as Hindu.
Islam is the second most popular religion in India, with 14.2% identifying as Muslims (Ibid.). The remaining 6% consist of Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, and Christians. As one can tell, India is in need of missionaries to share the message of Jesus Christ.
The second most unreached place in the world is Pakistan. It is reported that 198,454,000 people in Pakistan are unreached. The least reached people group within Pakistan is the Arain (Muslim traditions), with 0.00% being evangelical (Joshua Project).
Within the country of Pakistan, 96.2% are Muslims, 1.6% are Hindus, Christians are 1.59, Scheduled Castes are 0.25%, Ahmadis are 0.22%, and other religions consist of 0.07% of the population.
High numbers of false religions should convict us to go out and share the gospel with the people of Pakistan. Many individuals in Pakistan have never heard the gospel, and it is our responsibility to share the gospel with them.
It is not enough to only know about these numbers, but also to do something about them. The Lord has given the Great Commission to all people, yet it is up to us to obey (Matthew 28:18-20).
The third most unreached place in the world is Indonesia. One hundred sixty-five million five hundred twenty-one thousand people are unreached in Indonesia. The largest religion in Indonesia is Islam, with 83.6% of the population identifying as Muslims (Joshua Project).
According to the Joshua Project, progress is being made across Indonesia, yet there are still many completely unreached people groups in the red zone, such as the Acehnese and the Aji people groups.
It is crucial for the gospel to be taken to the shores of Indonesia and for it to be presented in a way that is understandable to the local individuals.
The fourth most unreached place in the world is Bangladesh. Team Expansion reports that 163,630,000 individuals are unreached in Bangladesh. By far, the main religion in Bangladesh is Islam, with 90.4% of the population identifying as Muslims (Joshua Project).
Within Bangladesh, only 0.37% are Christian adherents (Joshua Project). Bangladesh is a country that needs to hear the message of the gospel.
For many of us, Bangladesh is halfway across the world, but it is still vital that we take the gospel to them or help others take the Gospel to them.
Every single individual needs to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ in order for them to have the choice of accepting Jesus as their own Lord and Savior.
The fifth most unreached place in the world is China. There are 146,228,000 unreached individuals in China. Often, we think of China as having been reached since many missionaries have been there, including Hudson Taylor, Gladys Aylward, and Lottie Moon, yet China still needs our help today.
The main population of China is declared to be “non-religious,” as reported by the Joshua Project (Joshua Project). Out of the population of 1,418,475,000 individuals in China, 44.4% are “non-religious” (Joshua Project). Just like Hudson Taylor, Gladys Aylward, and Lottie Moon, we need to have the same passion for bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the unreached in China.
The sixth most unreached place in the world is Japan. Japan has a total of 124,296,000 unreached people within its country (Team Expansion). The main religion in Japan is Buddhism, with 68.1% of the population being Buddhists (Joshua Project).
According to the Joshua Project, the evangelical annual growth rate is -0.4% compared to the global rate of 2.6%. Missionaries are needed now more than ever to help these lost individuals to hear the saving grace of Christ.
Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and other false belief systems cannot save a person. Only by accepting Jesus as your Savior and Lord can anyone be saved.
The seventh most unreached place in the world is Iran. There are 81,619,000 unreached people in Iran (Team Expansion). Yet again, in the country of Iran, the most popular religion is Islam, with 97.5% of residents identifying as Muslims (Joshua Project).
There are only 0.52% of evangelicals in the country of Iran (Joshua Project). With such low numbers of Christian individuals, we need to make the intentional effort to join a missionary trip going to Iran, or we need to help support active missionaries on the field.
Iran is a place of mass Christian persecution, yet it is critical for us to ensure the Gospel reaches its borders.
The eighth most unreached place in the world is Turkey. Turkey is home to 84,968,000 residents, and 81,091,000 of these residents are unreached (Team Expansion).
It is reported that 99.1% of the population is unreached in Turkey (Joshua Project). The main religion in Turkey is Islam, with 96.2% of the population being Muslims (Joshua Project).
Turkey has very few Christian influences, and it is vital for missionaries to go out to the country of Turkey. Often, we think of Turkey being Christianized because of the churches located in this country, but as one can tell from the research, Turkey is highly unreached.
The ninth most unreached place in the world is Nigeria. Nigeria is home to 211,302,000, and 61,556,000 of these individuals are unreached (Team Expansion).
Statistics show that 91 people groups are unreached within Nigeria. The main unreached people group within Nigeria is the Ahan people, who are in the red zone according to the Joshua Project.
Even though Nigeria is more reached than other countries recorded in this list, it is still vital to take the gospel to every individual.
The tenth most unreached place in the world is Thailand. There are 66,334,000 unreached individuals in Thailand (Team Expansion). The main religion in Thailand is Buddhism, with 88.7% of residents identifying as Buddhists (Joshua Project).
My mission’s professor, who is my Christian mentor, was a missionary with his wife to Thailand many years ago. Within the country of Thailand, it is considered patriotic to be Buddhist. My professor used to tell me the Thai people used to say, “To be Thai is to be Buddhist.”
In other words, you would lose your national identity if you were not Buddhist. Thailand is in need of missionaries to take the gospel to its shores, not only in the large cities but also in the small villages.
Just like my mission’s professor and his wife, we have to be willing to take the gospel behind our own borders.
For further reading:
What Is the Biblical View of Mission Work?
5 Reasons You Should Go on a Mission Trip
What Did Jesus Mean to 'Go and Make Disciples’?
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/anyaberkut
Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.